The current-generation Mazda CX-9 has been around since 2016, and it represented a critical step forward for the automaker. Based on the SkyActiv platform, Mazda’s midsize crossover got a polished look thanks to the new Kodo design language, making it more premium inside and out. Like with all Mazdas, the CX-9 is one of the best-driving SUVs in its segment thanks to its punchy turbocharged engine and well-tuned transmission. For the 2020 model year, the CX-9 got a midcycle refresh, and that includes important updates to its interior, as well as an increase in torque.
2020 Mazda CX-9—Captain’s Chairs
One of the biggest updates inside are the optional second-row captain’s chairs, which come with a center console between them, ostensibly for more comfort and luxury. The center console adds cupholders and two semi-deep storages. However, during our most recent three-row SUV Big Test, we dinged the interior of the CX-9 for its poor access to the third row, and part of that was because the center console takes up a ton of space in the small cabin. Although the second row looks premium and is comfortable, we’d skip that option if we were buying a CX-9 ourselves.
2020 Mazda CX-9—More Torque
For 2020, Mazda retuned the engine in the CX-9 to make a bit more power. The turbocharged 2.5-liter engine delivers up to 250 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque with 93 octane gasoline—a 10 lb-ft increase over the 2019 model. With 87-octane gas, the CX-9 is able to deliver 227 hp and 310-lb-ft to the front or all four wheels.
2020 Mazda CX-9—Off-road Traction?
If the CX-9 is equipped with all-wheel drive, the new off-road traction assist feature replaces the traction control button to help when driving on uneven terrain. According to Mazda, when the wheels lose traction, the assist will stop reducing the torque and increase the brake on the wheels that lost traction, which would transfer power to help the CX-9 to regain its course.
2020 Mazda CX-9—Standard Equipment
The Sport is the base trim for the 2020 Mazda CX-9, and the automaker made sure to add a long list of standard features that make it more premium than other mainstream rivals. Front cloth seats, power driver’s seat with lumbar support, 18-inch wheels, rain sensing wipers, heated outside mirrors, automatic headlights and high beams are some of the standard features in the 2020 CX-9. We wish Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were included in this trim, as they are only in the Touring and Grand Touring models. In terms of safety, the Sport is also equipped with Mazda’s i-Activesense features, which include radar cruise control, automatic emergency braking, collision warning, and lane departure warning with lane keep assist. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic assist are also on the list.